**BP Note: Today we have a guest post from Heidi Cullinan for her Carry the Ocean Blog Tour. She talks about the influence of the Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi movie on her character Emmet. Heidi’s also got a great giveaway happening for the tour that includes a copy of The Blues Brothers movie and a signed paperback of her book so be sure to enter at the end of her post. We have a review for Carry the Ocean posted later today, it’s a fantastic book, so come back and check out our thoughts on this first in The Roosevelt series. Enjoy Heidi’s post and good luck on the giveaway everyone!
Getting Down With the Blues
Emmet Washington’s Obsession With The Blues Brothers
in Heidi Cullinan’s Carry the Ocean
I can’t remember at what point Emmet Washington began talking about The Blues Brothers while I drafted Carry the Ocean, only that once it crept in, the references to the movie grew like Kudzu in Georgia. Which became problematic, as I’d never seen the film myself.
This isn’t the first time a character has stopped the story to make me watch a movie or a television show. Walter Lucas decreed his favorite movie was Fight Club, which was all very well, but I’d never watched it. (For the record, I’m on Team Kelly for how I felt about it.) Something about Emmet and The Blues Brothers, though, felt especially significant. So I queued up the movie and let Emmet tell me what he had to say.
It’s quite an experience to watch a movie for the first time with a character on your shoulder, driving your point of view. I don’t know that The Blues Brothers would have grabbed me much on my own, but having watched it with Emmet, every time I see it, I think of him. How I know he associates it both with his father and with learning how to interact with others. How memorizing its lines and the movements and inflections are a measure of self-comfort.
What struck me most when watching with Emmet, however, was how much he identified with Ellwood Blues. I have no idea what the creators of Ellwood intended, but man, watching with an autistic young man in my head? Ellwood really reads as on the spectrum. That, more than anything, was what made The Blues Brothers precious to Emmet. In his mind, a man like him was on the screen having a great time, being a hero, wearing sunglasses.
Driving a car. Let’s not forget Ellwood always drove the car.
We’re all heroes of our own stories, but we also all need heroes to follow. Someone to look up to, a model for our behavior, a companion sharing our struggles. I love that my character came with his own model, insisted so loudly I learn about his hero too. Ellwood taught me a lot about Emmet, and Emmet by his turn taught me so very many things. About him, about the world, about myself.
I let The Blues Brothers run rampant through my novel, let Emmet carry it wherever he felt it should take us both. In the end, it became I beautiful undercurrent, less a reference and more of a metaphor. You don’t need to watch the movie to understand the book. I hope, though, that if you haven’t watched it, you do once you finish reading. And I hope you take Emmet along with you.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.